Archives for posts with tag: a walk in the park

I’d just barely hit “publish” on yesterday’s blog post when a severe OPD storm blew in. Other People’s Drama splashed all over my doorstep, and a tsunami of emotion blasted my morning, my afternoon, and my day generally.

In moments of gloom, there are often still flowers.

I am not the sort of person to turn someone fleeing domestic violence away from a moment of safety, though, and my OPD-free zone is certainly a safe space. I invited my friend in, and started working to help her calm herself; difficult decisions in life are most easily made from moments of calm, I find. I make a point of checking in with myself regularly, too, because this shit hits all of my buttons, and I am myself on the edge of panic being around domestic violence, at all.

When conditions are right, flowers bloom.

My friend and I took a walk through the park, “enjoying” the flowers. To be more precise, I was enjoying the flowers, my friend was moping along beside me, less than fully engaged in the moment. I didn’t really intend to give up on 100% of the beauty and fun of my weekend, just because someone else has drama to choose to invest in. 🙂 It was a lovely walk, and I’m sure the fresh air and sunshine did her some good too. She talked. I listened. Sometimes I talked. I hope she made a point of listening, but it’s not something I can confirm with any confidence. We walked in silence some, too. I did my best to respect her emotional experience and be present, welcoming, and comforting.

I’m not always sure what one flower or another actually is, and this does not stop me from enjoying them.

She figured out what to do with herself in the short-term, and where to go. Her things were already packed up and ready for all of that. I gave her a ride. I gave her hugs. I gave her my time. I came home. The evening from that point was very quiet. Her now-ex is a friend, too. I know he must be hurting, and I’m here, even for him, if he wants to talk. He hasn’t reached out. I don’t expect that he will. The situation saddens me. Not my circus. Not my monkeys. Not my drama.

Sometimes, a closer look.

I slept restlessly, waking often toward the end of the night. My restlessness got me out of bed more than once, to walk through and around the apartment before returning to bed, no particular purpose in mind. It was a weird night. I sip my coffee contemplating the weekend behind me, and the day ahead. Yesterday’s investment in drama was time-consuming; I didn’t get my laundry done, and I didn’t paint my nails. I didn’t read that book I started. I didn’t get much housework done. All of that will inconvenience or annoy me this week, at some point, more than likely…but… what I did do counts too, and comes up less often; I spent time with a friend who needed me.

It’s a journey.

Still, I’m looking around the place this morning and recognizing opportunities to take better care of the woman in the mirror. Today seems like a good day to begin again. 🙂

 

A lovely holiday weekend so far, and having to work for a couple of hours in the morning today hasn’t seemed to be a significant downer, so far. My coffee is tasty, well-made, and hot – but also just the right temperature to drink. I’ve been sleeping well, and today woke with very little pain – a relief after yesterday’s more-than-usually painful morning.

I spent Thanksgiving alone; my traveling partner was in too much pain to cross town for the holiday meal. I was prepared for that, having planned the meal from a solitary perspective in the first place. It sucked more that he was in pain than any disappointment he wasn’t attending dinner, honestly. I have never experienced a solitary Thanksgiving meal, and eagerly embraced the spirit of the holiday, even enjoying the holiday cooking, and clean up very nearly as much as the meal itself – which turned out wonderfully. I had wondered if there would be something inescapably blue about Thanksgiving alone. There doesn’t seem to be anything inherently sad or blue about a solitary Thanksgiving. I invested in good self-care practices throughout the day, and treated myself well – I wholly enjoyed the holiday, and enjoyed a festive, celebratory meal. I have a lot to be grateful for in a life worth celebrating.

Before the cooking, a long walk in the chill autumn air.

Before the cooking, a long walk in the chill autumn air.

It was delightful to stay in contact with my traveling partner throughout the day, small conversations about the meal, about the day, about our experience together, sharing photographs and links to things we found relevant or amusing. There is so much technology available now that can connect us more closely, if we choose to use it that way.

Love, challenges, and sharing the journey; there are still verbs involved.

Love, challenges, and sharing the journey; there are still verbs involved.

I woke yesterday considering taking advantage of the beautiful day to take a long hike…then I tried to stand up. So. No hiking was going to happen yesterday – I’d feel fortunate at day’s end if I had been able to do dishes, and dress for the day. I definitely wasn’t going anywhere. I don’t do “Black Friday” shopping, so I wasn’t missing anything in that regard, but it sucked to hurt so badly I couldn’t even consider a hike, or a walk in the sunshine.

I took my time and I took care of myself with care. Yoga happened – slowly, a few minutes at a time, one posture, or another, carefully growing to two, three, more – by mid-day I was more flexible and in less pain. I happily undertook the holiday decorating; the tree fits my apartment! It ended up being a day spent wonderfully well, and ended with a state of contentment quite beyond any words I could share. It’s been a couple of years since I have been able to enjoy an utterly drama-free holiday – but it has been, so far, and it is quite wonderful. There’s been very little stress at all, and none of that at home. “Magical” seems a good description for the holiday season so far… although… it’s hardly fair to begin labeling things two days into it… only… perhaps going into it with wide-eyed wonder, and a perspective of joy, is the best start I could give it?

Choosing joy, and enjoying small pleasures.

Choosing joy, and enjoying small pleasures.

I’d throw more words at you about choices and perspective and verbs; I would be repeating myself. I will say I am reasonably certain, based on other prior life experiences, that I could have chosen to wallow in my insecurities and doubts all day on Thursday, and blown my Thanksgiving holiday experience invested in personal sorrow, mired in chaos and damage. I chose differently – and did so well before the holiday arrived, committing my planning and intention to enjoying the holiday from a new perspective, seeking the value in the differences with openness and enthusiasm. There were verbs involved. There was a requirement to let go of attachment to expectations built on other experiences, and there was also a need to reach for the pleasant qualities, the joy, the values, and to willfully savor the celebration. The outcome was a worthy and quite wonderful holiday. It was not relevant that I was alone; it was one of the best Thanksgivings I’ve been fortunate to enjoy. I learned some things about solitude – and about loneliness – from small adjustments to my perspective.

Today is another adventure, a new one. What will the day hold? I consider the hours of the day that will remain ahead of me when I leave the office… It is a Saturday, a holiday weekend, and there are some holiday touches that haven’t been handled. I need a new wreath for the front door. The one I had, until the move, was specifically selected for the house we all shared, and doesn’t at all suit my current decor, the aesthetic of the neighborhood, or the size of my entry way. This is such a small place – between the lack of storage and the likelihood of spiders moving into any wreath I might hang, I have already decided to put up a wreath of fresh materials that won’t be stored for re-use. A simple fragrant pine wreath of some sort seems ideal, and I find myself wondering if a trip to Saturday Market after work would be fun…

There will be a festive glow to welcome me home in the evening.

There will be a festive glow to welcome me home in the evening.

There are so many simple joys in life. When I am able to approach each day from the perspective of embracing those simple pleasures, simple experiences, and simple moments of beauty, rather than focusing on how to endure the challenges life may present, the joys seem to become more plentiful over time. Today is a good day for joy. Today is a good day to smile at strangers. Today is a good day to be kind, to show compassion, and to remember how very human we each are. Today is a good day to change the world.

Friday could not come soon enough, although peculiarly, and as anxious as I’ve been in the office, it’s never been actually straight up bad, and often quite a bit less bothersome than I seemed to have set myself up to expect. I’d say it’s weird, but the truth is simply that we are each having our own experience, each possessing free will, each making different assumptions, and communicating from ever so slightly different dictionaries than each other moment-to-moment – and to make things just that much more fun, if we’re all seeking growth, and investing in what we want of the future, we show up each day as a very slightly completely different person than we were the day before – and don’t really realize it, and it doesn’t necessarily show to anyone else, either. How odd. The week ended rather suddenly and without much fuss.

As I left the building, peering into sodden gray skies likely to drip a few drops on me as I walked home, I recalled a team-mate commenting that the park bridge is open again, and that I would be able to “take the shortcut through the park” (it’s not a shortcut – it’s a longer walk, but more scenic, and definitely feels shorter). I took a deep breath, and walked on.

I pause at the top of the hill, excited to cross the new bridge. Is it silly to be excited about something so mundane?

I pause at the top of the hill, excited to cross the new bridge. Is it silly to be excited about something so mundane?

I take my time approaching the bridge, savoring the experience of the excitement and anticipation, and filling my senses with the prolonged yearning I had been experiencing in the background every day, waiting to resume my pleasant walks through the park each day. I make a point of lingering in this positive moment, and really feeling the joy of it.

As with much of Oregon these days, the bridge is higher.

As with much of Oregon these days, the bridge is higher.

I approach the bridge, eager to see the changes. The bridge has been elevated, which is a very good thing since many prior years the creek rose enough to swamp the bridge and make it impassable. I will be walking over this bridge all winter. I notice the very sturdy sides and rails, the closely spaced deck, and that the deck is not actually wood – some sort of durable plastic or composite material, it seems to shed water, and is not slick to walk upon even in the rain. Nice.

I cross the bridge; it feels like a moment.

I cross the bridge; it feels like a moment with significance.

I walk over the bridge, stand awhile in the center watching the water flow by sluggishly. This is not a fast-moving creek; there are many snags and places where nutria or beavers have felled trees and dammed the flow. I hear frogs peeping, and ducks quacking. I find myself wondering why “quacking” exactly? I don’t hear ‘quack’… I hear something more like… ‘gronk’. lol I walk over the bridge and startle a very auburn squirrel who was preparing to cross in the other direction. I reach the intersection of paths that decides whether this is a ‘short cut’ or not – turning right, and it shaves about 7 minutes off my walk, compared to taking the main road, but if I turn left (my preference) it takes me wandering through the park for about the same distance as the walk already was – definitely not a shortcut in miles, but how do I communicate that it feels like a shortcut… to my sanity?

Of course I turn left.

Of course I turn left…just up there…

Where does the path lead? Through the park, and into the evening, relaxed at home, and comfortable – and not even a little bit mad about seeing every square foot of sidewalk along the front of my building entirely inaccessible (having been torn out, replaced, and recently finished, it is not available for foot traffic yet). Nope, doesn’t matter. I carefully pick my way through the mud to the mailbox, and then back to the apartment, and taking my muddy shoes off before I step onto the carpet. I’m home.

I don’t know how or why it would make so much difference just to lose the walk through the park, but getting it back definitely made my evening, tonight. Dinner is cooking, and it seems a fine evening for something fun – a favorite animation, perhaps, or some game time? A movie? Fun and games matter too. It’s Friday night, and I’m taking care of me. It’s enough. 🙂